Saturday, 29 March 2014

Shifting to a smaller town - Delhi to Meerut

Sanjay Van the oxygen supplier
We were in Delhi for over 35 years. As date of retirement approached we decided to shift to a quieter & smaller town. NH - 58 or Delhi - Dehra Dun highway area suited us as it was quite familiar. After having done a recce of various places we landed up in Meerut. Neighbours here as well as in Delhi have differing views on Meerut being a good choice over Delhi after retirement.

The 3 bhk flat is in an Enclave which is surrounded on three sides by Sanjay Van a reserved forest. Sanjay Van is having inter-alia Kikar or Babul (Vachellia Nilotica) trees, foxes, jackals, neelgais, snakes, monkeys, peacocks & huge variety of birds. Day breaks with chirping of birds & evening comes with howls of jackals. These sounds are better than that of honking of horns in Delhi.
Regular visitors
Demography of our neighbourhood is a cocktail of Vaishs, Jats, Jains & to lesser extent Gujjars, Punjabis, Uttarakhandis etc. In Delhi people were less curious to know your family details. Here they would like to know more about your caste, gotra, your 'title' or surname, ancestral village, brothers & sisters. Same caste affinity is more & 'Love thy Biradari' rule is generally followed during elections also.

Being non-vegetarian is an issue. The subzi vendor who does daily rounds inside the colony, informs that he does not keep garlic as there is no sale. Most of the families do not consume garlic though most of their youngsters do enjoy non-veg dishes outside of home. So frying fish in home quickly circulates your status.

Just 70 km away from capital of India but one feels that civic services have evaporated. During last one year there were disruptions in electric supply over 500 times. You never know how many times a day the supply shall trip & for how long.

Water supply is abundant but of course subject to electricity being available. People love to wash their vehicles, sprinkle water around their houses & in little kitchen gardens in gallons.

As for traffic it took me a month or so to get adjusted to chaos. Everyone loves to blow horn, to overtake & to take traffic lights as decoration items. Seat-belts & helmets? What are they? Roads have variety of animal driven carts, jugaads & autos. All overloaded & trying to race with each other. Road signs are used for pasting posters & ads. Signs of love & friendship can be seen between bikers & drivers talking to each other standing in the middle of the roads. Chalta hai.
On NH 58 near Murad Nagar

Save petrol & pollution

At your service
Roads are for one & all

Where are you going today?
Life is a more leisurely here as travel time to offices or shops is considerably less than in Delhi. No corner of city is more than 20-25 minutes drive. It could be less if you are familiar with narrow gullies & short cuts. So no need to hurry & get up at six in the morning even 8 AM will do. Like wise marriages or parties can be enjoyed up to mid night & beyond. No hurry cool!
Holika Poojan 
What I love is that here you are addressed as Bhai saab or Bhabhi ji - depending on your gender of course. Kids are trained to say Uncle ji Namaste & to touch your feet also. Well there you are in an extended family - Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. If you are not seen for a day or two neighbours do ask 'where were you Bhai saab?' unlike in Delhi where time for such pleasantries is less & no one is bothered about your absence really.

Meerut is a place where first freedom struggle started in 1857. Also known as Sasural of Ravna as his wife Mandodari was born here.

Welcome to Meerut.
Meerut Cantt has several such displays 

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